I was born on April 25, 1969 in Spokane, Washington to Frank and Carole Insell. Shortly after my birth, they both took teaching jobs in Silicon Valley where they worked for the next 30 years until their retirement.
I was raised in an upper middle-class neighborhood in San Jose, CA. I graduated from high school in 1987 and began my long stint working in the IT industry, first as an admin, then as a sales rep.
In 1996 and unwed, I became pregnant with my daughter Breanna. Then in 2000 I got married and 10 months later, I gave birth to my son John. After the marriage dissolved, I went on the long road of “single parenthood” and have struggled through much of it.
In 2010, Breanna moved to the desert region of Southern California with my mother and this hit me really hard. I encountered job loss, homelessness and legal issues.
I don’t know what it was, or exactly when it happened, but I sent from being void of joy and hope, living in a chronic and very deep depression to being what I can only describe as content. I began to investigate many topics and have had a complete perception change.
Had my perceptions not changed, I don’t know how I would feel now that I have a cancer diagnosis. In January 2018, I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that has spread into my adrenal gland and my brain. Fear is crippling and I have tried to stay busy, to rest and to clean up my affairs as much as humanly possible.
Being my brain is affected, I’m really unsure how long I will have all my faculties. Before they removed the tumor in my brain, I was beginning to slur my words, I was clumsy and I was having difficulty doing things that were once simple and easy for me to understand.
That caused me great concern so going into brain surgery I was, to say the least, very very concerned. However now that I’m about 45 days post-surgery, I feel more like my normal self.
My cancer tested positive for the genetic mutations necessary to be a candidate for targeted treatment therapy so I am taking a pill once daily called Tagrisso 80mg. While its only been just over 2 weeks, I do not have much to report on concerning its effectiveness or ongoing side effects. I do get tired and nauseated right after taking the pill and if I’m hungry and/or unable to eat.
Cannabis products have helped me to sleep and eat and will be something that I will continue to investigate moving forward. I feel like what the medical community is going to give me is poison and that my cure will come in alternative therapies and diet.
My outlook is positive but real. I am a young lung cancer patient and therefore my odds of beating this much better than those diagnosed around the average age which is 71 for lung cancer sufferers.
Getting this diagnosis is definitely life changing but it is not going to be life-ending. My son is 17 in August and my daughter just turned 21 in February. I have graduations, wedding engagements, ,weddings and grandchildren to look forward to. I want to be here and while I do not fear death, I am also not ready to die.
May God’s grace extend to those that are in charge of my care and may he put in my path those that are able and willing to help us get to the other side of this diagnosis.